Occupying one month later

– Lin Abdul Rahman, Opinion Editor

Occupy Toronto protesters have been ordered to leave St. James Park immediately, following a ruling by Ontario Superior Court Justice David Brown. After hearing arguments from representatives of the City of Toronto and the protesters, Brown ruled on Monday morning that the protesters’ encampment was in violation of the city’s Trespass to Property Act.

Protesters reacted to the ruling with little surprise. They anticipated the court ruling to be on-side with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; they had been discussing various contingency plans should they lose the case.

Since Occupy Toronto joined the global movement in October media coverage of the movement has changed significantly.

At St. James Park, reporters from most major media outlets are omnipresent, especially during the weekend marches which tend to attract more participants. CityTV and CP24 trucks can be seen on the periphery of St. James Park keeping a watchful eye out for anything newsworthy.

Right-wing media attention has also begun to focus on different facets of the movement; their critique now touches upon some of the issues raised by protesters, rather than just entertaining pabulum to colour their front pages.

Despite the growing spotlight, the Occupy movement is still being criticized for either its varied and disparate concerns or for not having a clear message at all.

While the first may be true, the latter is out right false.

One only needs to spend an hour or two at the park in order to see that protesters at Occupy Toronto are pointing to some very clear and explicit concerns. Chances are you will find one or two issues that you empathize or agree with, or one that affects you or someone you know. There really is no other way to fully understand this attempt at a truly participatory democracy other than to participate in it.

To summarize those concerns and communicate them here would be futile because, as critics are quick to point out, the issues are also diverse.

It is also perhaps the multi-faceted nature of this movement that allows different organizations to band together. The United Steelworkers Union, the Ontario Federation of Labour, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, among others, are part of the Occupy Toronto movement.

The Occupy movement has given these disparate organizations to make their concerns heard in one unified voice, even though the issues they raise may be different from each others.

Even right-wing media have begun to recognize some of the Occupy movement’s demands, even though unfounded criticisms still abound. So if you are one of those who still say there is a lack of coherent or clear message, spend some time to get to know this global movement that is happening in your own backyard.

Visit one of the many Occupy sites across Ontario. If that’s not possible, read one of the many websites, blogs and tweets that have been documenting Occupy’s every move.

Otherwise, you’ll be stuck repeating the same out-dated diatribe about the Occupy movement over and over again. In fact, what you’re really saying is that you know very little about something that’s happening right under your nose.

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